Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Curse of Beautiful

Today I had the opportunity to sit and talk with one of my students.  Earlier in the year she wrote an essay for my class called Beauty and the Beast, in which she explained in a very heartfelt manner her own perspective about beauty. Her point of view was very focused on finding what is beautiful in people, instead of always looking at someone's appearance.  She is a beautiful girl, and sometimes I've wondered, and judged her, about the depth of her own character.  She showed me a message she received from a male friend that she had sent her essay to. She put a lot of time and effort into her essay and he had returned it with a "kind" but scathing review, particularly of her opinion.  

Though his words reeked of that rhetorical pseudo-maturity so often found clinging to the shirt tails of misguided early twenties university goers - I could tell she felt like she didn't have enough of a point to respond to his argument.  As I read the message over, with her sitting with me, we talked about his words and I started to point out some of the problems with his logic, and I could see her turning these thoughts over in her mind.  His general point was that all women can be beautiful, if they choose to treat their bodies properly, are thin, then they can be adored by their peers.  His point was that beautiful was defined at a thin woman, no matter what she was like.  He even went so far as to say that if his own daughter was overweight, he wouldn't force her to diet, but he wouldn't go out of his way to tell her she was beautiful, either.  The first thing that ran through my mind, was that this young person was going to get the shock of his life when he became a father, but also it saddened me to see the hurt in the eyes and heart of my student.  When we were finished talking extensively about his words, she looked at me and said, "He actually kind of proved my point. I used to think that he was good-looking, but now seeing what he thinks, he's not so hot anymore." I was proud of her.

I can't wait for her to find out that not all men are like this boy, who says he's her friend.  I can't wait for her to learn that whatever imperfection that she may see, the rest of the world sees as uniqueness that make her shine.   It is for all of us to remember...beautiful is an opinion, and yours is the only one that counts.

Dove Beauty Sketch 

I watched this link earlier, and very much appreciated what it had to say.  


  1. What a wonderful girl! I'm so glad you were able to help her realise that her opinion (universal truths!) are worth standing up for.

  2. She really is! And you're right, I was telling her just because 100 people think something is right, it doesn't mean that they have the facts.


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